In this video Taylor goes over a bit about how he started out by targeting the clients he wanted to book, talking about his personal experiences when he was starting out, as well as sharing some insight that you can apply to your business. Later on in the video he talks with Lachlan about some best practices when it comes to finding your ideal clients and targeting those customers. This is an area that many people struggle with, get wrong, or have no idea about - there's no better time to start than today!
Today we are talking about how to attract more of your ideal clients for your wedding photography business. Keep watching, this is good stuff man.
Hey, hi, what's up, I'm here. We're talking about ideal clients today. Ideal clients is a bit of a, I would say, a very very large topic. It is one that I feel like you're constantly discovering.
If i could give you “the too long didn't watch” version of this it is essentially that you are likely marketing to somebody that's pretty close to yourself. The more copy, the more content, and the more helpful things you can create in order to speak directly to yourself… there's a pretty good chance that you will find that you are going to organically attract your ideal client as well as coming up with your own portfolio.
I did this in the very beginning where i would literally convince my friends with pizza or beer to go out and to do shoots in their wedding clothes, or engagement sessions, or white dresses that kind of look like wedding dresses. I would do everything that I could because I needed people in my portfolio that were wearing, at the time, converse shoes because no one else was really doing that in this area. My ideal couple I don't think wanted to go and rent those shiny weird dress shoes that had been worn before for their wedding day, that they just wanted to wear something they were comfortable in.
I was coming from a concert + music background and basically if you came into my wedding website and then you looked deeper into my work everything was very cohesive. It was bands, music, press shots, promos, and some pretty impressive acts that were coming through Toronto and um just a lot of good credibility indicators that all kind of supported what I was doing in my portfolio. It was by no means a complete departure, it was just an addition in kind of a wedding space so create content for the people that you want to be working with. That's the “too long didn't watch.”
I have some notes and then we're going to talk to Lachlan from Focal. Focal is kind of the sponsor of these 30 days of wedding photography videos here on youtube with film photography videos coming up every Monday.
Essentially what focal does is they built out my entire website for me so there's a link in the description below. Usually it's $935 USD for them to set up a website for you. They have copywriters, they'll write exactly like you. You do a video call with them, they assign someone to basically emulate exactly how you would you would write things and you can obviously go in
and change whatever you want but in my experience specifically, I guess three weeks ago, they came through with a website that sounded exactly like me. I had about maybe a 25-30 minute phone call and I just talked a little bit about like “hey I like this about my website,” Focal told me a few things that they could definitely fix - go back to yesterday's video if you want to see the specific things. It was mostly just load time, the fact that it was a bit confusing, and that it wasn't nearly as optimized as possible to actually convert leads.
I am super happy with the website overall - more things to come over January on it. Focal is a pretty small team right now and they're developing more things over the next year so the next thing to come out is an availability calendar and also uh if you're somebody that does a lot of mini sessions it's super valuable because you can now just run your mini sessions from it. You have the calendar and the bookings are all included in your website as well. You can process credit card payments, you can send contracts, the emails that your couples get look incredibly professional.
I always felt a little bit awkward just sending like “hey your final payments due please send” and I was always… I guess maybe it's like imposter syndrome or whatever, and I always felt a little bit weird sending that email. Now you have an email that looks like it's coming from a kind of a third party system to collect money on your behalf. I feel like it is something that both adds credibility and trust to your business that you're just not the person reaching out with a quick email to be like “hey please pay me now.” All of a sudden you have this very professional presence kind of from start to finish that is kind of all cohesive, nice, and feels correct together.
There is lots to come on the focal websites over the next year: galleries are going to be part of it which is kind of what I'm the most excited for so head on over there and get your name on the waiting list for sure. The slots sold out pretty quickly and focal is opening them up kind of as they have availability so a small team can't handle everyone at once but please get in there before the end of January because you'll have to pay a lot of money - you'll pay almost a thousand dollars USD to get the same thing you can get for free right now. You're going to want to sign up for an annual plan but still if you sign up for an annual plan in the future you're not going to get that free website design.
Onto today's video: ideal clients. We're going to be talking to Lachlan from Focal in a few minutes here about his strategies. I feel like it's very important as somebody that i feel like has been in the wedding photography industry for a very very long time I feel like i've seen the same things be taught, and then re-taught, and then re-taught, and re-taught and no one's ever really checked them with analytics or metrics. I feel like Lachlan does that. That is their job as people that are creating websites and actually booking photographers work, that they actually go deep into those metrics so i think that's very very important.
So as I mentioned in the beginning, it is critically important that you create the work that you want to get out there into the world. I've always said it is creating your dream portfolio and once you have created some of it you'll start to book it and it'll be easier to organically get there. The other big benefit if you are photographing your ideal clients, or people that are pretty close to your ideal clients, every single weekend the referrals that come from them are a lot more qualified and they're likely to be a lot more like your ideal clients. If you went to the wedding of somebody and they're pretty similar to you and you're good friends because of it, there's a pretty good chance that they're going to see the wedding images and be like i just really enjoyed the experience of the photographer they weren't lying in the middle of the Aisle. They were just there to stay out of the way and capture the day. That's good I should use that in the future: “stay out of the way and capture the day” - it's a new slogan, it's a bit cheesy but it really solidifies what I try to teach here. I can't believe it took me this long to get there.
So those referrals: if you can push referral systems to make your ideal clients connect you with more of your ideal clients your business essentially becomes on autopilot a little bit. Specifically in the case of destination weddings, a lot of my, I would say most of my, destination wedding couples within the immediate bridal party there is a pretty good chance that maybe two or three of the either bridesmaids, groomsmen, or best friends will probably have a destination wedding based on the fact that they've now been to a destination wedding and they see how awesome it is. So there's a pretty good chance that if you are shooting your ideal client and your ideal client happens to be somebody that wants to get married on a beach somewhere with palm trees, and everybody's got to get on an airplane to go there, there's a pretty good chance that that's going to lead to more destination weddings just based on the fact that there's an internal referral chain
I think one of the hardest parts about figuring out who your ideal client is that it's very very challenging because you're kind of too close to the source. Lachlan actually asked me this
in the setup call for my website and I thought that we would go through and play a little bit of a game on some questions that maybe you should be asking yourself or some things that can give you a little bit more clarity into who your ideal client is so let's head on over and talk to Lachlan.
Absolutely easy question um, you know I think what it is about ideal clients is like you don't get to choose your ideal clients it's really like, you know from harry potter, it's like the wand chooses the wizard Harry. It's like you got to figure out what makes you special so that you can understand who the customers are that appreciate that. Those are your ideal clients and so, like you said, this is an exercise that we do in the accelerator program which is a lot of fun.
I normally ask just flat out “Taylor what makes you special as a photographer, do you have any idea?” When it comes down to it, I enjoy creating beautiful work but in an efficient way so that I'm not taking over the day that the couple gets to experience their day. They're not having a wedding to have a photo shoot, they're having a wedding because they want to get married and I’m there to document that but i don't know if i just skirted completely around the question by answering like that i feel like i did a little bit.
A little bit but I think there were a couple good points in there and usually what I anchor on is that it's about what the customers say about you, it's not what you think about yourself. But I think the point you made about couples that book you typically probably book you because they want a photographer for their wedding and they want to enjoy and experience their wedding. They're not booking a photo shoot, and that might seem pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised there's a lot of customers actually that do book a photographer you know for the photo shoot. I've been to shoots before where the clients the whole outcome of their wedding or the shoot we just want to have photos that are gonna make our friends jealous and could be on the cover of vogue that's the type of photographer we're looking for we want like the perfect photographer that's gonna make that happen for for me. So I think that's a really great reflection.
Another way to think about it, and usually like my main tip to photographers, is to think about the feedback that you've gotten, you know if you were to look through your reviews, if you were to look back at the emails where clients were right after you delivered the gallery what do they say. I don't know if any patterns would stick out to you in your mind - can you think of anything?
Um… right now I can't but I think looking through them I feel like my reviews are all kind of scattered in different spots and I feel like maybe something that I should be doing that i'm not is kind of collecting all those testimonials in one spot to make it easy for people to look through, but I'll have a look through them and I feel like that's a good starting point yeah. Again, it's not like what messaging I want to put out there, It's kind of what messaging is already existing that maybe I don't even realize yet and I'm just too close to the source to to actually figure it out. I think that's it, it's like that that
being too close to the source as a photographer I think you guys maybe don't give yourself enough credit to how much work it's taken to get to where you are, the experience and all the learning that it's taken - and when you really reflect on it’s a lot. It's a lot that goes into what you do and I think that's what's really special and every customer is going to appreciate that differently in those qualities.
My hypothesis about you is that like I'm sure that that a lot of your feedback is probably revolving around the fact that that you create a really comfortable experience where, like you
said, the customer doesn't even really think that you're there but you're still able to capture these really beautiful moments in a way that's not intrusive. Maybe if that is your value proposition then you can sort of center your brand messaging around that and it becomes the message that you say on instagram, the message that's on your website, and that's going to be the predominant message that attracts your ideal client. It's like “I'm Taylor and if you're looking for a photographer that just lets you enjoy your wedding, have a great experience, and wind up with these beautifully captured moments that's not intrusive then I'm the photographer for you” kind of thing. no very very cool and then i also like
I also like that the copy and the repeated calls to action on the website, that it's all also done in a way that will convert sales for you as well, that: one, it does attract your ideal client into it actually gets them to contact you which is something that i feel like maybe I was too timid about that. I was kind of like “yeah head on over to this contact if you want to talk to me I guess, yeah bye.” But now it's just very apparent that the website is there. If you like the work head on over, this is the next step in this journey: select the package, select the availability date, and let me know. Honestly the way I see it is your website is an extension of you and your art but it's also like the most important tool in your toolkit for your business - sort of the landing place for a lot of the different customer journeys where customers sort of find you. Maybe they're finding you on Instagram, or they're finding on google, or they're getting a recommendation from
a friend, but ultimately they're going to land on your website and so it's really important to think about what that path looks like as they sort of discover you, maybe fall in love with your photos and then figure out where I go next and what that experience is going to be like. Having a really simple path creates an easy experience for the customer which is part of your value proposition as well I think
So I guess that really does just kind of summarize exactly who I am and what I do - as the the rhyme said in the beginning, I really do want to create an easy customer path and an easy experience and that is honestly what i'm kind of all about when it comes to wedding photography and the business that I want to run. I do feel like that attracts the type of couples that I'm the happiest with every single week of my wedding photography life.
Thank you so much for watching, thank you to Lachlan from focal - if you're interested in getting your own website head on over to the Focal the link in the description below here and what they're going to do over the month of January is your $935 dollar setup fee will be waived, you don't pay that at all, you're signing up for a year with the service and that's just included next month. If you sign up for the year you're not going to get the free setup and it's going to be even more money so make sure you get in on that waiting list today. Basically the way it goes is that if you sign up and you put your email in this month, you will get that complimentary website design. There is opening up a few slots kind of as they actually have space for it - again, small company - and they don't want to overload their systems so yeah everything is custom and they're going to build a website that you're going to be super happy and proud of. One that's going to feel complete and it's actually going to feel done and you're not going to go in every day and try to try to fix some things that they have done all of the best practice including all of the greatest google stuff. You’ll experience this over time how your website is just organically ranking and your packages are ranking, and everything is just good. That is all from
the studio today, I'll be back tomorrow to talk a little bit more about packages for your wedding photography business.